United, We can Change the World

I always had a sense of wanting to help others. I knew going into college that I wanted to help my community and it was important to me to have the biggest impact I could possibly have in my lifetime. That was my north star. I was overly involved in extracurricular activities in college, all helping organizations. It was my outlet and a way for me to narrow down my passion. It wasn’t until I found Students For Education Reform (SFER) that I knew that I had found my life’s work. Seeing as I was overly involved, one of the community organizers asked me, “are you going to be able to change the world in our lifetime?” I said “no.” She pushed my thinking and asked me a follow up question, “then who?” It was clear to me that I needed to invest in our future generations. However, for them to be able to be the best contributors to society, they needed access to high quality higher education. This was something that wasn’t happening for so many in my community. It was an injustice, a modern civil rights movement. 

I’m a daughter of immigrants from El Salvador born and raised in Redwood City, where I went through the public education system all the way through high school. When my Freshman class entered high school, we had over 1,000 students. Upon graduation, there were less than 400 of us. Even for my AVID class, the first generation college-going low-income students of color, out of a class of 30 of us, only about 5 of us graduated from college 4 years after high school. This is a systemic issue and it is disproportionately attacking our low-income communities of color.  

This is why when SFER exposed and taught me that education reform was a career, I knew that I wanted to become a community organizer. Through the years, I have become an educator at one of the highest performing public schools on the EastSide of San Jose, a public charter school Rocketship Fuerza Community Prep.  Most importantly, I accomplished my goal. I am now a community organizer that is continuing to build the movement of people power in education reform. With our organized power, I know we can get one step closer to changing the world.

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Amy Parada

Amy Parada

Amy Parada was born and raised in Redwood City, California, where she went to traditional public schools for her K-12 educational experience. She graduated from Whittier College with a degree in Public Policy and Social Inequality. She always knew there were disparities in the public education system, but it was not until she began her community organizing journey through Students For Education Reform (SFER) that she found her calling, being a community organizer. When she moved back to the Bay Area, she became a teacher at one of the highest performing schools on the EastSide of San Jose, Rocketship Fuerza Community Prep. She left the classroom to tackle education from a political standpoint and to continue to unleash the power of parents in the community. She is now a Senior Education Organizer with Rocketship Public Schools and a founder of the Santa Clara County Parent Coalition.
Amy Parada

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